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Israel enters Syria

Last updated: Sunday, February 03, 2013 12:48 AM

Israel has chosen to attack Syria when the Arab country is most vulnerable. The air raid which targeted a defense research facility near the capital of Damascus, killing two workers and injuring five others, came at a time when Al-Assad's regime is shaking after nearly two years of fending off the persistent rebellion. Israel was certain Al-Assad would not be able to either defend his country or reply and indeed, the attack passed without Syrian military retaliation. And that silence also means Israel might like to do it again.

It goes without saying that Israel’s version of the story is vastly different from that of Syria. Tel Aviv claims that its fighter jets had struck a Syrian convoy suspected of moving Russian-made missile parts bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon and which could be used to attack Israel. There is no particular reason why Israel is to be believed and Syria not. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apparently is siding with Syria after expressing “grave concern” and calling on all concerned to prevent tensions or their escalation. Why would Ban express dismay if Israel had knocked off a target which threatened its security? The secretary-general instead was stating concern over international law and sovereignty that should be respected but which was violated. The Israeli attack was a violation of the 1974 military disengagement agreement which was negotiated following the 1973 war. The Israeli air assault was unprovoked and was launched on the territory of a sovereign state. Those two acts are enough to qualify the raid as violating the UN Charter. If the UN has any gumption of the kind it is always accused of lacking, an emergency session of the Security Council must be held immediately to condemn the attack unequivocally.

Israel has maintained total silence over the attack. This “no comment” other than to announce the attack itself means Israel would rather not discuss what is a blatant breaking of international laws and treaties.

The attack is similar to 2007 when Israel bombed a suspected Syrian nuclear site. That hit was also illegal and unacceptable whatever motives were used to justify it. Such strikes fit Israel's policy of preemptive action, much like the Bush doctrine of attacking before being attacked – playing it safe, in other words. That principle was employed to justify the US war against Iraq and all the consequences that Iraq suffered.

Israel would like nothing better than to get rid of Al-Assad, for the family clan has remained a threat ever since the 1967 war and the capture by Israel and later illegal annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights. So this is Israel’s opportune time to strike. Al-Assad has his hands full and cannot risk opening a new front with Israel. With an estimated 60,000 Syrians killed in the civil war, Al-Assad will not be able to rally his bitterly divided nation behind him.

Peace with Israel cannot be made without Egypt, and war with Israel cannot be launched without Syria; this is the old axiom of the Middle East. This is the moment Israel has chosen to redress the motto and attack Al-Assad and Syria when they are both at their most susceptible.

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